Grandmother cleared of charges linked to 2014 murder

A grandmother of 20 has been cleared of firearms offences linked to the 2014 murder of Belfast man Edward Gibson '“ almost a year after her husband was acquitted of carrying out the fatal shooting.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 2:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 2:06 pm
Margaret Goodman was cleared of all three firearms offences
Margaret Goodman was cleared of all three firearms offences

Margaret Goodman, of Ballymurphy Parade, walked free from Belfast Crown Court after a prosecuting barrister offered no evidence and confirmed there was “no reasonable prospect of a conviction”.

For the first time, it can now be reported that her husband Malachy Goodman – who was due to stand trial for the October 2014 murder of Mr Gibson – was also acquitted at the same court last May after a jury was directed to return ‘not guilty’ verdicts.

Mr Gibson was shot in the thigh and stomach in an alleyway in the Divis area of west Belfast on October 24, 2014.

The 28-year-old father of one was rushed to hospital but died from his injuries the following day.

In the aftermath of the shooting, both Malachy Goodman and his wife Margaret were arrested and charged with offences arising from the fatal gun attack.

Malachy Goodman, 61, from Rockmore Road, was charged with murdering Mr Gibson, and of possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent.

He always maintained his innocence and was due to stand trial on the offences. However, due to identification issues, the case did not proceed.

Almost a year later, his 59-year-old wife has also been cleared of charges she faced, after no evidence was offered by the Crown.

As she stood in the dock of Belfast Crown Court while her husband sat behind her in the public gallery, Mrs Goodman listened as a clerk of the court read the three charges she faced to a jury.

The eight men and four women were told Mrs Goodman faced three charges – possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life, possessing a 9x19mm calibre cartridge with intent, and possessing a 9x19mm calibre cartridge in suspicious circumstances.

The mother of seven and grandmother of 20 also denied the charges.

After a jury was sworn in at Belfast Crown Court, prosecuting QC David McDowell took to his feet and told them: “On the evidence available, we have come to the conclusion there is no reasonable prospect of a conviction, and we offer no evidence in respect of all three counts.”

Judge Geoffrey Miller told the court in such circumstances, defendants were “entitled to have their names cleared by the jury”, then directed the foreman to return ‘not guilty’ verdicts against Mrs Goodman.

Judge Miller then told Mrs Goodman she was free to leave the dock, and she left the court with her husband.